Coffee has made headlines again this year for possibly cutting the risk of type 2 diabetes which has become something of a global epidemic. Further, it seems that the more coffee you drink, the better! We already know that drinking coffee can help prevent Parkinson’s disease, colon cancer, gallstones, and kidney stones. It can also lift your mood, treat headaches and migraines and even lower the risk of tooth cavities. This latest research result on diabetes prevention spells even better news. Analysing data on 126 000 people over an 18 years period, Harvard researchers found that drinking one to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day can reduce diabetes risk by single digits, when compared with non-coffee drinkers. Drinking six or more cups of coffee a day, however, cut men’s risk by 54% and women’s by 30% compared with those who do not partake! These results are similar to those in a less-publicised Dutch study last year, and are the latest in hundreds of studies suggesting that coffee may indeed be a health food, especially when taken in higher quantities. In recent decades, 19 000 studies have been done on coffee’s impact on health. For the most part, their results indicate that coffee isn’t just enjoyable and delicious, it is also highly beneficial to overall health and well-being.
“Overall, the research shows that coffee is far more healthful than it is harmful,” says Tomas DePaulis, research scientist at Vanderbilt University’s Institute for Coffee Studies, which conducts its own medical research and tracks global coffee studies. “For most people, very little bad comes from drinking it, but a lot of good.” Coffee even offsets some of the damage caused by other vices, some research indicates. “People who smoke and are heavy drinkers have less heart disease and liver damage when they regularly consume large amounts of coffee compared with those who don’t,” says DePaulis.
There is also evidence that coffee can help manage asthma, controlling attacks when medication is unavailable, stop a headache, boost mood, and even prevent cavities. It seems to be partly the high caffeine content, partly the high quantities of antioxidants in coffee beans, some of which become especially potent during roasting, and partly as yet unknown properties, that make coffee so beneficial.
Caffeine is especially great for athletes and sports people. It stimulates the brain and nervous system to do things differently, helping fight fatigue, and may even have a direct effect on muscles themselves, causing them to produce a stronger contraction. Athletes find they can often run faster, last longer and be stronger, when drinking lots of coffee. As little as one cup can offer some benefit, but the real impact comes from at least two, and the harder you exercise, the more benefit you may get.
Coffee is also loaded with antioxidants, including a group of compounds called quinines which when administered to lab rats, increase insulin sensitivity. This increased sensitivity improves the body’s response to insulin. It isn’t yet clear why coffee is beneficial for diabetes. It’s possible that both caffeine and other compounds play important roles. The antioxidants and minerals found in coffee have all been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Meanwhile, Italian researchers credit another compound called trigonelline, which gives coffee its aroma and bitter taste, for having both antibacterial and anti-adhesive properties to help prevent dental cavities from forming. Vumba coffee, grown and roasted in the Bvumba district of Zimbabwe, is a pure arabica coffee with a unique flavour. Medium roast, rich, aromatic and smooth, enjoy it in the knowledge that you are benefiting your health as well as helping yourself feel great.